The second day of The Players Championship featured some major separation between the top contenders and the rest of the field. Based on how well the top names are performing, you can imagine more of the same in Round 3.
Martin Kaymer enters Round 2 as the tournament leader at 12 strokes under par after a second strong round at TPC Sawgrass. However, Jordan Spieth is right behind him at 11-under thanks to his 66 in Round 2, which was the best score of the day.
These are the top players heading into the weekend, but there are a number of other contenders that will challenge for first place in the third round.
Here is a look at the latest standings followed by storylines to watch on Day 3:
Martin Kaymer Can't Be Stopped
After tying the course record of 63 in Round 1, Kaymer went back to work with a strong 69 to move to 12 strokes under par for the tournament.
Here is a look at highlights from his second round:
While he was not quite as accurate on Friday as he was in his amazing first round, he was still able to consistently get to greens in regulation. He then continued his assault on the greens with a total of 1.312 strokes gained in his putting, via PGATour.com.
According to Justin Ray of ESPN, this puts Kaymer in an unfamiliar position heading into the weekend:
Martin Kaymer (-12): 3 shots better than any prev. career 36-hole score on @PGATOUR - he's never led after 36 holes (currently up 5).— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) May 9, 2014
Still, there is no reason for the German golfer to get nervous now. He is playing extremely well and has tons of confidence after two good rounds. If this continues, he should be able to bring home his first title since 2011.
Jordan Spieth Will Not Go Away
As good as Kaymer has been in this tournament, Spieth has been even more consistent after 36 bogey-free holes.
Stephanie Wei of Sports Illustrated notes an especially impressive stretch for the young player:
Spieth continues to light it up --makes his 3rd birdie in 4 holes (which included 14, hardest) to get to -11. He's now just 1 back of Kaymer— Stephanie Wei (@StephanieWei) May 9, 2014
Spieth was extremely accurate on the day, hitting fairways on 78.57 percent of his drives. As he explained after his round, "If you're hitting it out of the fairway you can go at alot of these pins," via Kyle Porter of CBS Sports.
Most importantly, he is avoiding mistakes, which is something that many young players struggle with. He has now gone two rounds without a single hole over par, and it has helped him get to 11-under for the tournament.
Kaymer has been impressive, but he thought he was going to leave with a five-stroke lead. However, Spieth will not go away and should remain in contention for a title throughout the weekend.
Players Who Can Make a Move
Just outside of the top names are a few veterans capable of making a run to the top. Among this group are Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk, who each sit at six-under through the first two rounds.
Westwood has been very accurate in the tournament, nailing the fairway on 82.14 percent of his drives. Meanwhile, Furyk has not been as good but is known for his ability to hit it straight. With their consistent level of play to go with the experience of being in big tournaments, they could each challenge for the top spot in the leaderboard.
Another player who could make a run at the lead is Bubba Watson, who sits at three strokes under par. It would take a big effort, but his length gives him the chance to earn tons of birdies.
However, Watson has discussed what makes this course tough, as Will Gray of Golf Channel reports:
There’s a lot of intimidation. For me, what makes this golf course so tough is really the grass, the kind of grass it is. Anytime I’m hitting out of the rough, it’s going to be a flier. The way I impact the ball, it just jumps. So anytime I’m in the rough – which, I’m in the rough a lot – it makes it very difficult for me.
Still, Watson has the ability to climb to No. 1 in the world if he can finish in first or second place. This motivation should be enough to see some aggression from him in the next two rounds.
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